This Week in the CHA: Jan. 24, 2002

Brother v. Brother

Last weekend saw the hotbed of College Hockey America action take place in lovely Colorado, where Bemidji State and Air Force tiffed with each other and with USCHO No. 1 Denver. While some would consider the big story to be that neither team laid down and died while facing the top-ranked Pioneers, the big story for the CHA Beat was the brotherly brouhaha between Tom and Frank Serratore.

In NCAA Division I history, families have only faced each other twice. The first meeting saw Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden face his son, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Now College Hockey America brings D-I its second such matchup with the Serratores.

As with the Bowden pairing, this looks like one that should be hard-fought for years to come.

Bemidji State, led by Tom, led his Beavers into hostile territory and skated away with a 4-2 decision over Frank’s Falcons. The game, one of two four-point conference matches this season, vaulted BSU to a first-place tie in the CHA standings with Wayne State. Air Force falls to 4-2 all time in four-point games.

Tight Standings

The CHA race remains tight: BSU and Wayne State are tops with 14 points apiece, and Alabama-Huntsville (11), Niagara (10), and Findlay (nine) don’t lag far behind. Unlike the past two seasons, the CHA race will likely go down to the wire as teams jockey for seedings in the March tournament at Niagara.

However, nonconference play hasn’t been kind to CHA teams this year: only one team (Niagara) is above .500 overall. The relatively limited CHA schedule allows teams to play more nonconference teams, and it’s a good way for the CHA teams to get themselves up to speed. With some very young programs, the learning experience will be invaluable for the growth of the league.

Weekend Matchups

The lone matchup on the CHA slate this weekend is the other four-point game of the year, as the Niagara Purple Eagles travel to Air Force. These four-point games can make wild changes in the standings, as last weekend showed. With a win, Niagara could make it a three-way tie atop the CHA.

CHA teams have a stout nonconference schedule for the weekend. In a similar setup as last weekend, Air Force and its visitor play a local team, this time Colorado College. Bemidji State travels to Ferris State, while Findlay hosts Canisius.